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Holiday Gift Guide for People in Addiction Recovery

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Buying holiday gifts for loved ones isn’t always easy, especially when you’re buying for sober folks. Have you noticed how many online gift lists include alcohol or accessories (like flasks, glasses, and bottle-openers) or “hilarious” drug references? If you find yourself stressing about what to get for someone who doesn’t drink or use anymore, you’re not alone. And that’s true even if they’ve been sober for a while. Maybe you knocked it out of the park in their first year by buying them a swanky new coffee set, but this year you’re lost for ideas.

Don’t worry—the Workit team has you covered! We’ve curated a list of thoughtful gift ideas for loved ones in recovery from alcohol or substance use disorder. This is NOT a sponsored list, and we don’t receive any commission or affiliate benefits from these links.

Donate-to-a-cause gifts

A donation or cause-related purchase can be a touching and meaningful gift. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Local harm reduction organizations.
  • Recovery Community Organizations, like Unity Recovery who provide free recovery services.
  • Recovery non-profits, like the Herren Project, which provides resources, support, and treatment scholarships.
  • A non-recovery cause that is close to the recipient’s heart. Try using Charity Navigator to find the right charity for your loved one’s gift.

Esteem-building gifts

Affirmation decks are a helpful way to build esteem, build confidence, and channel inner strength. These affirmations are inspiring (and sometimes pretty sassy) without being cheesy or cloying, and they stay away from overt religion, so they’re very inclusive. Bonus: several of them have beautiful designs! These decks would be a great gift for anyone trying to be more mindful and positive in their recovery:

Activist gifts

Many folks in recovery find ourselves becoming involved in recovery activism and advocacy roles. Whether that’s supporting advocacy organizations like Faces & Voices of Recovery, taking part in I Am Not Anonymous, or wearing your activism. If your loved one is an activist in recovery, here a few ideas for helping them display that passion:

Mindfulness and relaxation gifts

A great—some might say a very necessary—skill for folks in recovery is that of mindfulness. It allows a person can turn their racing brain into a center of quiet, even during turmoil. Here are some popular gifts to help your loved ones promote mindfulness and a sense of relaxation in recovery.

  • Books: If addiction is about escaping our thoughts, meditation is about turning to face them. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s classic “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” is a clear and practical introduction to the ways meditation can change how we respond to the world around us.
  • Journal: Another great gift is tools to journal, like a nice notebook, a 5 Minute Gratitude Journal, or a Daily Gratitude book.
  • Fidget gifts: Many folks in recovery have extra energy and may feel uncomfortable in meetings. A fidget tool or stim toy can be surprisingly helpful and can also support folks with co-occurring disorders, like anxiety, autism, or ADHD, with focus and mood regulation. There is a whole range of fidget and stim tools nowadays!
  • Yoga: The practice of yoga can improve physical wellness along with promoting mindfulness and relaxation. You could gift your loved one sessions at a yoga class, a subscription to online yoga classes, or a yoga mat and bands.
  • Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can help some people to destress and focus. You could get them a diffuser or convenient rollers.

Bookworm gifts

Many folks in recovery love to read Quit Lit or inspiring stories of people who have overcome challenges. Here is a list of inspirational books that folks in recovery LOVE:

Crafts and activities

When we enter recovery, many of us suddenly have a lot of time on our hands. If your loved one is in the same boat, a craft kit or an activity that fits their interests can be a great way to keep them occupied and entertained while boosting their confidence. There are a million other great options, but here are just a few:

Decorative gifts

Visual recovery-related gifts can serve as a helpful reminder and motivation of why we’re in recovery. When we’re having a tough day, it can be especially inspiring to see encouragement to push through our challenges.

Apparel & accessories gifts

So many people fear that they’ll have to be boring and serious if they stop drinking or using. Goofy t-shirts, hoodies, and hats like these defy those stereotypes and help us celebrate recovery without being too serious. (Note: these gifts are best when you know that your loved one is open with others about being in recovery.)

Sober drink gift ideas

Believe it or not, folks in recovery can still indulge in fancy drinks without risking their recovery. The alcohol-free market is huge right now. Here’s a selection of our favorite alcohol-free drinks and zero-proof mixers.

A thoughtful and creative gift guide for people in addiction recovery.

Olivia Pennelle (Liv) has a masters in clinical social work from Portland State University. She is a mental health therapist, writer, and human activist. Her writing has appeared in STAT News, Insider, Filter Magazine, Ravishly, The Temper, and Shondaland. She is the founder of Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, Life After 12-Step Recovery, and Tera Collaborations. She lives near Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Instagram @Livwritesrecovery and @teracollaborations

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. Workit Health, Inc. and its affiliated professional entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.

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